CNET First Look
Extend your Wi-Fi network quickly via power-line with ZyXEL PLA4231Editor Dong Ngo shows how to get a longer Wi-Fi range with the ZyXEL PLA4231
Hi, guys. It's Dong Ngo here. And this doesn't seem to be long enough ever, isn't it? I've received so many e-mail from you guys asking me how to make it longer. And by it, of course, I mean the Wi-Fi range. And well, today, I have something to extend just that. And this is the ZyXel PLA4231 500 megabit-per-second Powerline Wireless N Extender. That's right. It's quite a mouthful, but hey, it's worth it if the long line indicates how much more Wi-Fi range would we get out of this. Now, the ZyXel here is actually a two-port power line adapter. Meaning, if you have a power line-ready network at home, you can plug this into another power socket, and then you can add two more white devices to your network. On top of that, it also have a built-in Wi-Fi network. That mean you also add other Wi-Fi ready client to a network, too. Now, this device come in a step-on design but it's not exactly compact. That mean, when you use on a power socket, it will likely block the access to other sockets nearby. It also doesn't come with a pass-through socket. This mean you do not want to use it at the far corner where there's only one wall socket because it can unplug anything else to that socket. But in that case, though, it still worked as a Wi-Fi device. So, it's not completely useless. It will be, however, completely useless if you use it in a home where there's no other power-line adapter. So, make sure your home network has at least one power line adapter- such as this one from Actiontec here-- before you get yourself this ZyXel device. Although here, you can see that it has a WPS button. This mean you can quickly copy existing Wi-Fi network and make that a result. So, if your home network support WPS, it's very easy to set up the ZyXel. Otherwise, it's quite tricky because you have to figure out how to get to its web interface. In my testing, this ZyXel here actually turned out to be pretty good, with decent Wi-Fi range. But it could be a much better device if it come with two more things, Gigabit Ethernet and dual-band Wi-Fi. It support neither. On top of that, it's quite expensive, costing some $100. To find out more if it's worth your money, make sure to check out the full review at CNET.com. And when you're there, follow me on Twitter, or Facebook, or Google+. You'd be glad you do because you'd find out that I am the only person of whom the Wi-Fi network is just perfect. Not too long, not too short. That's because I'm Dong Ngo. And this has been the first look at the ZyXel PLA blah, blah, blah, blah Wi-Fi extender.